Minnetonka Minnesota History
Welcome to Lake Minnetonka, which is made up of numerous bays, islands, bays and peninsulas and has existed longer than any other lake in the United States. Here are some statistics: It is located at an altitude of 1,845 feet above sea level, about 1.5 miles east of St. Paul.
The outflow of Lake Minnetonka is the Minnehaha Creek, which winds south of Minneapolis and flows past the Minn. Falls into the Mississippi. The water flows into Minnesota Creek Lake, winds through southern Minneapolis and flows into the Mississippi River, where it flows over Minnehaha Falls - which is especially spectacular when it freezes to a blue-green sheet in winter. There is an outflow into Lake MinnetOnka, but it is located at the mouth of the Minnesota River, not the river itself, as the water flows from north to south and then south to the Minnesota Falls, the largest waterfall in North America. There is no outflow into Lake Minnesota because the water of the lake flows through the Missouri River and not out of its mouth.
In 1851, after the Treaty of Traverse with the Sioux, the Dakotas sold the area, including Minnetonka, to the United States and sold it to them. Wayzata, which had been part of Minnehaha Township since 1883, was occasionally a campground for the Dakotah during the 1862 Sioux Uprising. In 1851, before the Traversing Sioux Treaty and the sale of this area (which included the Minnesota River and Lake Minnesota), the Fargo - St. Louis County Indian Reservation (now the state of Minnesota) was sold by the Dauphin County Sioux tribe (now the Dakota Nation).
Today, Minnetonka serves as the headquarters of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR), the state's Office of Indian Affairs.
If you live in the Twin Cities or just visit, you won't miss the beauty of Lake Minnetonka. With its seaside resorts and amusement parks, it is one of the best lakes in Minnesota. That makes life as a child in Minnehaha County very pleasant, combined with a crime rate that is much lower than the national and state averages. When glaciers disappear from large blocks of ice buried deep in thick sediments, they form large lakes.
The first Euro-Americans to visit Lake Minnetonka were explorers Joseph R. Brown and Will Snelling, who climbed Minnehaha Creek from Fort Saint Anthony in 1822. The earliest recorded exploration of the lake by the US Army in Minnesota was the expedition of Josephine Brown in 1823, who, along with the two soldiers accompanying him, became a leading figure in Minnesota history.
Donaldson's department store was an iconic Minnesota establishment, and the goods were shipped by boat to lakeside homes on Lake Minnetonka. In the 19th century, children and pioneers provided the inhabitants of Minneapolis - Lake - Minnehaha with food, clothing, shoes, toys, clothing, furniture, books, jewelry, etc., for their children and for themselves.
The Mdewakanton Band of Dakota, who lived mainly in Minnesota and the Mississippi River Valleys, visited Lake Minnetonka to hunt and collect maple syrup. Although their original settlement was in the Minnesota River Valley, they often visited Lake Minnesota on their way to collect and hunt maple syrups. Besides hunting and collecting maple syrup, the Marylanders also hunted and collected syrup on the shores of the lake.
Even in the middle of winter, the Historical Society of Excelsior and Lake Minnetonka is busy capturing the region's past. This long history is visible throughout the city, which is bordered by the lake and whose historic steamboats still bring residents and visitors to many corners of the lake.
According to the author of the historical Minnetonka Lake, it was as long as a football field (300 feet), could hold 2,500 passengers and had 40 sleeping cabins. Before water taxis were a thing, the Twin Cities Rapid Transit Company owned a streetcar named after the city's first public transportation system - the Minneapolis - St. Paul Railway - that looked like it.
By the time white settlers reached Minnesota in the early 19th century, the region had been inhabited by Dakota peoples for thousands of years. The Dakota, Sioux, Ojibway and Chippewa crossed Minnetonka on their journeys from Shakopee to Mille Lacs. Some of it is now on display at the Smithsonian Museum, which was rescued from the coast where Native Dakota people once performed revered and ceremonial dances. Some of the oldest buildings from all over the state have been moved there so you can see how people lived in those early days of statehood in Minnesota.
Even the name of the lake comes from the Dakota word for water, Minnetonka or Big Water, and not from its name. The lake's name became official in 1852, when Minnesota's governor, Alexander Ramsey, formally named it after a Dakota name that meant "Big Water." Euro-Americans were at Lake Min Netonkoa before they spotted it, according to the Minnesota Historical Society.